Scalable startups don’t one-off specific features for specific companies. That’s called custom software. Rather, they build an engine that delivers broad value and sell it over and over again. Ideally thousands of times. It takes discipline early stage to say, “no” to one-off requests. “We really need the cash right now” or “I’ll bet other customers will want this feature” must be balanced against the distraction and opportunity cost of diverting from the plan to chase down rabbit holes.

Avoid custom development at all costs.

LEVEL 8 // Product Management is the first module for Validation teams, and this topic is one of several covered. Crafting a roadmap of prioritized features takes practice. Stacking and re-stacking the feature list against business needs and business goals is paramount. What you decide to build and how you decide to build it will make or break your company. Let’s not f*ck it up.

Jimmy Winter, adjunct for this work session, knows a thing or two about designing and developing products. A music company CRM was his first application. Which evolved into social media analytic and sentiment company Voter Tide. Voter Tide was acquired by MindMixer – an exit! Jimmy’s spent the last several years at Hudl where he works as a Senior Product Manager and heads up the Research and Development tribe that focuses on projects exploring machine learning, computer vision, and artificial intelligence.

Author // Nathan Preheim